Thursday, July 20, 2006

Escape from Kings Lynn

Dear Blog friends

Once again I must apologise for not keeping you informed of my life events. For some reason that I can't get my head round, my daily life has developed into something of a soap opera. So many things happen that I just keep getting into serious backlogs. What's happening now, for example, probably won't get blogged till next month. If Dolores allows me to blog it all.

You may like to read her latest post. She thinks I'm being melodramatic and clutching at straws. Yeah right. She should try sharing the bed with someone who thinks they own the mattress and has 15 different variants on the basic snore that can be issued willium nillium.

Anyway, as she would say, I digress. Actually, that's my phrase.

You may be interested to know what happened next, the moment after I came face to face with my former childhood nemesis, Toby, in a hotel in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England. I'd taken Dolores there on a mission of peace and reconciliation. Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered. Here then, is the next installment.....

What fire?

I stood, mainly because I was unable to run anywhere, two feet in front of him, and stared intently at his swarthy, stubble ridden face as he began to interrogate his mind as to where he knew the name of McCrumble. I could tell he was thinking by the way he curled his upper lip - an affectation I never dared make fun of as a child. Somewhat abstractly, given the circumstances, I wondered momentarily if adrenalin rushes were supposed to make me fight or flight. In previous years, faced with the prospect of being pummelled by Toby's right hand fist, I would have run, and kept running until he caught up with me before smacking my head into a lampost whilst cackling. But this was twenty years later. Was history simply going to repeat itself?

I couldn't decide what to do, and time was running out. I knew that Toby was a slow thinker, and I reckoned that twenty years of separation might have introduced some extra haze into his memeory banks, but at the same time I could see the lights of recognition slowly lighting up in his eyes, and instead of his lip curling it was now taking on more of a lopsided sneer. I knew from bitter experience that this meant physical violence was due, any second now...

Oh fuck, here it comes. Better duck!



It was too late. The decision had been made for me. I swear, I was not responsible. It was the adrenalin. Toby hit the floor like he was scared of standing up. He clung to it.


Now I'm not a man of violence, but the sight of my former tormentor lying on the floor, bleeding from his previously snarled lip, grabbing hold of his crotch, a look of twisted agony and surprise on his face, brought forth a shot of testosterone so strong that I had the sudden urge to pummel him into the quarry stone floor beneath. It was only the shrieking interruption of the hotel receptionist urging me to stop that prevented my foot making contact with his crotch for a third time.

The red mist evaporated as quickly as it had descended, and my shoulders slumped even as Toby began to rise. He was quickly back on his feet despite the injury to his nether regions and almost instantly regained his menacing demenaour. Except this time it was magnified to grotesque proportions.

'I'll call the police!' shrieked the receptionist, just as Toby began to launch himself at my midriff, head first. He was distracted by this threat in mid flight, and just managed to twist himself away in time, tripping up in the process and landing in a heap at my feet. It was an opportunity too good to miss. His prematurely balding head turned up to look at me just at the same moment my left foot caught his right cheek. Not too hard I thought - just enough to give him mild whiplash.

The door to the hotel was directly in front. I didn't want to go upstairs for fear of leading him to Dolores, so I legged it. Without looking to see if he was following, I ran down the side of the hotel and into the garden. The fire escape was immediately to my right. I ran up it to the second floor, two steps at a time, checked again that he wasn't following, and pulled on the fire door handle.

Have you ever heard a modern door alarm at close quarters?

The pressure waves are enough to make you feel dizzy. Then there is the sound. Each ear popping pulse makes you want to scream. The door had been armed, and my act of forcibly pulling on it had set off the alarm. Fortunately, it also released the catch, and I was able to slip inside.

Dolores met me half way down the corridor. Her face gave away her astonishment at seeing me somewhat red and angy eyed but all she said was 'Do we have to leave now Joseph?'

'Yes' I said. 'We must leave right now. There is.....there is.....'

'A fire?' she offered helpfully.

'Yes love. A fire. Downstairs. In the lobby. Big fire. We can't go that way. We have to go this way.' I was speaking far too fast, but she got the gist.

'Stay here' she instructed, and with that disappeared into the room. Moments later she emerged with two bags, fully packed. 'Let's go' she said, flatly. So flat, in fact, that I knew I was in double trouble already.

'Put these on' she urged, handing me my jacket and sunglasses. I hesitated, as it was a warm day and the jacket would likely make me sweat. But she insisted, and I could tell she was in one of those moods where it would be foolish to argue.

We ran past the screaming door and down the stairs. The manager was at the bottom beginning his ascent. He barred our way and I thought for a minute he might challenge us, but my cool headed wife saved our skins. 'Some man came running up the stairs and forced the door open. I think he was heading for the lobby. We were just about to check out but didn't want to go in the same direction he was heading, as he looked very angry. Sorry, but do you mind, the sound from that door is hurting my ears.'

'Sorry', said the manager, averting his eyes groundwards, 'I'll turn it off.' And with that, he let us pass before running up the stairs.

'Run..' I whispered. 'I paid already. We can go.'

'No you didn't you fat liar!'

'OK, but we have to go. It was Toby. I hit him. Now let's go.'

'But we have to pay Joseph. If we leave now....'

'He's still in the lobby, waiting. He knows we have to go there eventually. He's cunning.'

'Right, on your head be it. Come on, before the manager finds out.'

We ran awkwardly towards the car, the two holdalls swinging around our bodies as if they refused to play the role of accomplice. Fortunately, the car park was partly obscured by some overgrown Leylandii, and once we were out of sight we could reduce our pace and walk calmly towards the car. We loaded the boot with the bags, unlocked the doors, got in. Dolores started the engine, and checked no-one was watching. I had elected to lie down on the back seat, and stayed there until we were well outside of Kings Lynn.

'Pull over', I said, when I had finally calmed down enough to lift my head off the rear seat. To my surprise, we weren't heading towards the A1, but instead on the road to Hunstanton.

'Don't worry,' said Dolores, as I clambered into the seat and before I had chance to protest. 'I saw it all happening from the top of the stairs. I wrote a cheque out to the hotel and a note of apology whilst you were kicking the shit out of him. All you have to worry about is whether he reports you to the police.'

With that she squeezed my hand, which I took to mean that really she was quite proud. And as we continued on our planned journey to Hunstanton I thought that in descending to the level of a thug, I had actually, somehow, shaken off my school demons. I experienced a feeling of release and freedom, almost as if by giving Toby a good thwack in his balls I had emasculated him and emancipated myself.

'I have just one question darling' said my wife, interrupting my philosophical reverie.

'Yes darling' I smiled.

'Didn't your mother always tell you to pick on someone your own size?'

'Yes dear'

'So was it really necessary to hit the guy when he was down? It's not like he could have done you much damage. I mean, all you had to do was hold out your arm. He couldn't even have punched you.'

She was right of course. When we were children, Toby hit puberty early and part of his power came from an early growth spurt. But adolescence clearly hadn't been kind. He must have stopped growing early, sometime after I last saw him twenty years ago. Standing in front of him in the lobby, I'd put him at about 5'3 (157.5 cm), some nineteen centimetres shorter than myself. I also noticed that he was sporting a prosthetic leg, most likey the result of a motorcycle accident. It explained why he couldn't follow us, and why he tripped up in the middle of his attack. Clearly, the poor sod still had the bulldog spirit, but, sadly for him perhaps, no longer the bulldog bite.

Did that make me feel any less of a man?

Course not. As many an English football team manager has stated, it's not how you play the game that counts, it's just the winning...

Hunstanton, here we come!

************ TO BE CONTINUED ****************


St Jude said...

Oh my giddy aunt, that is one long post, I need to come back tommorow and read it when my eyes are working!

Nikki said...

Dr Joe.

Are you telling me that you just kicked the shit out of a crippled man in a hotel lobby?


I see. . . .




okay (snort) so sorry. (wipes tear from eye)

If he had been anybody else, I would fuss at you, but then again, I would hope you wouldn't do that to anyone else.


Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Nikki - you have some insight into my character. If it had been ANYBODY else I would have walked away. I was provoked!

Gorilla Bananas said...

No need for apologies, Dr Joe, the man was asking for it. Moreover, the cripples are always the first to get eaten in the wild.

Miss Keeks said...

GB is right--Darwinism and all that.

Anyway, I feel your pain sleeping next to someone really noisy. I wear ear plugs now. They help a lot.

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Nikki said...


what would have done if they had not come along and offered their help? I de-clare. A true company of the people.


SafeTinspector said...

So...this fellow in the lobby. At any point did he proffer a piece of religious literature to you?

Nikki said...

(taps foot)

Where is the rest of the story?

and what ever happened with the body guard tearing up the tests?

Anonymous said...

You are great Joseph. Standing up for your memories - clunking a short, fat man with a false leg before he can say anything - like "Hi Jo, sorry for being an arse when younger, I always really admired you" for example. Blog more often.